Newark, Del. — Hard work pays off.
Down 3-1 to Appoquinimink through two periods, St. Mark’s (5-3-0) mucked and ground their way to three early third-period goals before Graham Kline sealed the win for the Spartans 2:17 into overtime.
Kline, who crashed the net in a two-on-one rush set up by senior Joey Centrone in the third minute of overtime, chipped the puck past Appoquinimink goalie Dylan Hadley for the game-winning tally after having a direct hand in the Spartans’ third-period resurgence, accounting for two assists.
Trailing by two 1:52 into the second period when top Jaguars centre Jonny Schwarz put a back-door pass past Billy Pierce after first-period goals from Jack Anderson and Paul Army, the Spartans dialled up the intensity almost instantly but could not generate immediate results. St. Mark’s controlled the attacking zone for nearly the entire second half of the middle period and threw 15 shots on net, but Hadley saved all of them while under minimal pressure.
The third period saw St. Mark’s battle for net-front presence more in earnest, and Kelly Stroik’s net-front chip-in off a James Morrison feed closed the deficit to one at the 1:14 mark of the third period. With top Appoquinimink defenceman Army ruled off for slashing just 22 seconds later, Lance Ralsten had ample room to fire a bar-down wrist shot from just inside the Jaguars’ blue line — his second goal of the game and similarly from long range as his first-period goal — to tie the game at 2:05. Thirty-three seconds later, Nick Lawson walked the puck in directly from an attacking-zone face-off to give the Spartans their first lead of the game.
Appoquinimink took their timeout immediately after Lawson’s go-ahead goal and regrouped defensively for the remainder of regulation. With just over seven minutes remaining, a forechecking Nathan Panchisin stole the puck in the St. Mark’s zone and tied the contest with a net-front backhand shot before Kline’s overtime game winner.
Pierce saved 31 of 35 shots faced in victory, while Hadley registered 24 saves on 29 shots. Both sides were 1-for-1 on the power play.